My favorite aspect of plein air is the interaction with the world around me -- people, history, scenery and/or wildlife (ok, I'll admit the bugs can be a challenge!). It is such a sensory experience, isn't it?! I love the smell of the flowers, the sound of the wind... the feeling of standing alone in a vast meadow or high on the slope of a canyon. My goal is to create a painting that invites the viewer to enter and experience it for themselves.
10" x 7", pen & ink
Abandoned summer kitchen on an old farm in Boyertown, PA
I still carry my sketchbook with me and often will use it to work up a few quick compositional studies. Sometimes I choose to forgo working on "finished" paintings and instead, fill the pages with quick color plein air studies. It's a great way to hone my drawing skills and collect visual information that I will use later in a painting.
Watercolors are my medium of choice. I love the spontaneity and the "happy accidents" that appear when you let the medium be true to itself. They are easy to transport into the field or pack in a suitcase. I love the challenges of working with them in varied climates or temperatures. Sometimes I work in pen and ink with watercolor washes -- a style that has evolved from my sketchbooks.
along the old Coastal Highway, Santa Ynez Valley, CA
My "day" job is freelance design and illustration which I have done for the past thirty-some years. In the last five years I have been able to devote more time to my plein air work and it is here, where I find the most joy and inspiration.